What is a Recovery Coach?

Pictured left to right: Jenny Celata, senior recovery coach, J​ack​ Harper, senior recovery coach, Rebecca Sweeney, senior director of care management, and​ Keriann Caccavaro, recovery coach.

By Rebecca Sweeney DNP, MBA, RN, CMAC, senior director of care management and Jenny Celata, senior recovery coach

A Recovery Coach (RC) is a person who has lived experience with addiction and works with people with active addiction to support, encourage, break down barriers and motivate to recovery. A coach is someone who understands the stigma of addiction first-hand and shares non-judgmental support and assistance.

In January of 2018, CHA partnered with the North Suffolk Mental Health Association (NSMHA) to provide Recovery Coach support services in the hospital setting. The program began at CHA Everett Hospital four days a week and has expanded to seven days a week in Everett and now four days a week at CHA Cambridge Hospital. NSMHA Coaches must have at least two years of sobriety in order to provide support services to CHA patients.

Certified Recovery Coaches to attend a Recovery Coach Academy and complete 500 hours of supervised training through the Massachusetts Board of Substance Abuse Counselor Certification. The Academy is a five-day rigorous training program focused on providing people with the ability to mentor, guide and support someone who would like to enter into or sustain long-term recovery from an addiction to alcohol or other drugs.

In addition to working with patients at CHA’s hospitals, the NSMHA Coaches also work at other locations in the NSMH recovery support continuum. Coaches are located at the Intensive Outpatient Program at Noddle’s Island in East Boston, several drug courts throughout Middlesex County, the Meridian House Residential treatment center in East Boston and the Roxbury Recovery Center.

How does someone access a Recovery Coach?
Patients at a CHA hospital can access a Recovery Coach by asking their physician, nurse, case manager, or social worker. Patients with addiction in our hospitals may be offered this service by a member of their treatment team. In the Emergency Department and inpatient hospital, RCs meet with patients to offer support, encouragement and motivation. For patients who are interested in seeking treatment after hospitalization, coaches can help them navigate into a detox program, outpatient treatment including medication-assisted treatment, step-down bed, or community-based recovery support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

People in the community wishing to work with a Recovery Coach can go to Rapid Access, for walk-in recovery support, Monday through Friday at North Suffolk Mental Health’s East Boston or Chelsea centers. For more information, call 617-912-7900.

Cambridge Health Alliance

Contributed By: Cambridge Health Alliance

Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health care system committed to serving all members of our communities. We have expertise in primary care, mental health and substance abuse, and caring for diverse and complex populations. CHA patients receive high quality care in convenient neighborhood locations, and have seamless access to advanced care through CHA’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. With over 140,000 patients in Cambridge, Somerville Everett and Boston’s Metro North, CHA is working hard to offer the integrated services its communities need now, and in the future.